Recipe: Tikil Gomen

This is a vegetarian vegetable dish. We just made this for the first time on Sunday and it’s already one of my favorites. Like other Ethiopian dishes, it would be very easy to double or triple, or alter the quantities of several ingredients. For example, if you want to use more or less potatoes or carrots or cabbage, it’s fine. Just make sure that if you increase the amount of vegetables, you increase the other flavoring ingredients.


2-3 onions, chopped
1/3-1/2+ cup canola oil
1-2 tbsp. turmeric
3/4 cup water
4-5 Yukon gold potatoes, cut in half lengthwise then sliced into 1/4-1/2 inch pieces
3-4 carrots, chopped into stick-shaped pieces
1 head green cabbage, chopped
6 scallions (white parts with some of the green), chopped
1 1/2 tbsp. dried basil (you can use fresh basil- the store just didn’t have any that day)
finely chopped garlic (see note at bottom)
finely chopped ginger (see note at bottom)
salt (to taste)
2 jalapeno peppers, seeds removed and sliced into thin strips

In a large pot, cook the onions, stirring occasionally, on medium/medium-high heat until they start to soften and turn translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Add the oil (as much as your arteries can take!) and cook until the oil gets hot. Add the turmeric, stir to ensure the it is evenly distributed, and cook for another few minutes (and please be sure to take a second to enjoy the aroma). Add the scallions and cook for another minute or two. Add the water and bring to a boil on medium-high heat. Once the water is boiling, add the potatoes, stir, and cover. Since the potatoes take longer to cook than the other vegetables, let them cook for at least 5-10 minutes. Then add the carrots, cover again and allow them to cook for several minutes, and add the cabbage. Add the salt and continue cooking until the cabbage starts to shrink and soften. When the potatoes are almost finished cooking, add the basil, ginger, garlic, and jalapeno peppers and cook until the vegetables are tender.

***It’s really hard for me to pin down how much garlic and ginger to use, as I keep large quantities of both freshly chopped in the refrigerator and just dump a bunch in when I’m cooking. I would guess that I use roughly five or six cloves of garlic and a 1 1/2 inch piece of ginger, finely chopped. Really, I have no idea. I would ALWAYS err on the side of adding too much of these. You can never have too much flavor, you know?


4 responses to “Recipe: Tikil Gomen

  1. We make this recipe a lot and as a short cut when I don’t have a lot of time I used a cole slaw mix instead of chopping everything up. Also when I am making a few recipes that call for ginger and garlic I use a ratio of 1″ of ginger to 1 head of garlic. I peel the ginger and garlic and throw them into my food processor and make a paste that I can add to the recipes that call for it. Again a little less chopping. Thanks for the recipes.

  2. theberberediaries

    Great shortcuts- I should mention that I do not recommend waiting until you have to cook a whole Ethiopian feast to prepare the chopped garlic and ginger! It is so tedious and time consuming that I usually peel four or five heads of garlic and a humongous block of ginger at a time (usually late at night in front of the television) and chop them in my mini chopper ahead of time. I do store them separately because there are certain recipes that I prefer more garlic in than ginger (fossolia is one that comes to mind) but I also find lots of uses for the garlic in non-Ethiopian recipes. Other shortcuts I sometimes use are bags of chopped potatoes, frozen garlic cubes (Trader Joe’s carries these), and powdered ginger. I really wish the chopped garlic you can buy at the supermarket tasted better, because that is one shortcut I’d LOVE to use. I’ll have to try the coleslaw mix!

  3. Hi, Thank you for the article! I think you meant to say the carrot take a whole lot longer to cook than other things. Originating from that country I have been privy to a lot of cooking sessions my mother has done and I think the carrots are put in first. Hope my two cents help.

    • theberberediaries

      Thanks for the tip! Honestly, I have not made this particular dish in awhile because it is so labor-intensive. I think you are probably right about the carrots, they always require more time than other veggies.

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